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Commonwealth v. Santana

Pennsylvania Superior Court

October 21, 2020

An en banc panel of the Superior Court waded into the murky waters of SORNA in Commonwealth v. Santana. The defendant was convicted of rape in New York in 1983 and was released from jail in 2000. Under NY law, he was required to register as a sex offender for life. In 1994, Pennsylvania enacted and amended its versions of Megan’s Law, which has been called Megan’s Law, SORNA, and Subchapter H, among other names. The defendant failed to properly register in Pennsylvania. He pleaded guilty to that offense and was sentenced the day before the Muniz opinion was issued. He then unsuccessfully attempted to withdraw his plea. On appeal, the en banc panel held that, since there was no SORNA/Megan’s Law/Subchapter H when he was convicted of his crimes, under Muniz, those laws could not be applied to him, as they were ex post facto laws.

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